Published October 4, 2019
Teresa Quattrin, MD, UB Distinguished Professor of pediatrics and senior associate dean for research integration, is spreading the word about the importance of clinical research and clinical trials to children and their parents.
Quattrin is co-author of a children’s coloring book titled “Sofia Learns About Research,” a collaborative effort of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the International Institute of Buffalo that is available in English, Spanish and Arabic versions.
It tells the story of Sofia, a little girl who has asthma. Sofia goes to the doctor with her dad and little brother, Michael, and together they learn about how — through clinical research — they might be able to help doctors find better treatments for the disease. The coloring book includes puzzles and other activities, such as crack-the-code and connect-the-dots features.
“Our goal is for children and their parents to learn about clinical research and share in the excitement of the clinical research going on in Buffalo right now,” Quattrin said.
A key objective for the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences — which funds the CTSI in Buffalo and centers like it throughout the United States — is to improve health and reduce health care disparities in communities.
Quattrin, also a physician with UBMD Pediatrics, has spent many decades leading clinical trials aimed at preventing and treating childhood obesity, and on preventing and treating Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children. She directs the Special Populations Core of the CTSI, the purpose of which is to increase the numbers of underrepresented patient populations in clinical research, including children and elders, as well as people with social disparities, chronic disorders and cancer survivors.
“We know from our work in pediatric research how difficult it is to recruit children and other underrepresented populations to clinical research,” Quattrin said. “We know it can be a very difficult decision for a parent to consider enrolling their child in a clinical research trial, but there can be such important benefits to enrolling, too. So we decided, why not write a children’s book?”
The book was featured on a recent sunny morning at Canalside next to the Buffalo River, as more than 100 Western New York children gathered to learn about scientific and medical research at an event sponsored by Every Person Influences Children (EPIC).
With the theme of Summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the event focused on explaining scientific research to the 13-and-under crowd. Children and adults learned how they could be part of medical breakthroughs in Buffalo, courtesy of UB scientists and staff.
In addition to the coloring book, children received special capes identifying them as “research rangers.”
Renee B. Cadzow, adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and associate professor and chair of the Department of Health Services Administration at D’Youville College, is a co-author.
The other co-author is Alexandra Marrone, a third-year student in the medical education program.
The drawings are by Isabella Bannerman, a Buffalo native and award-winning American cartoonist who is one of the contributors to the syndicated comic strip Six Chix. The graphic design was completed by Tia Canonico, a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.
Copies of “Sofia Learns About Research” can be obtained through the CTSI website.